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Stocks modestly higher....Illinois to raise minimum wage...China trade talks continue

February 19, 2019

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks shook off a wobbly start and ended modestly higher on Wall Street, extending the market’s gains into a fourth week. The S&P rose 4 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,779. The Dow added 8 points, less than 0.1 percent, to 25,891 and the Nasdaq rose 14 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,486.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed a measure gradually hiking the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, the highest in the Midwest. It was one of the new Democratic governor’s top campaign promises. He signed the six-year plan today. Illinois is on track to be the first state in the Midwest to push its base wage to $15.

BEIJING (AP) — China’s economy czar will be in Washington for talks Thursday and Friday aimed at ending a tariff war over Beijing’s technology ambitions. The announcement follows talks in Beijing last week. A U.S. envoy said the two sides “made headway” on key issues. Negotiators face a March 2 deadline when additional American tariff hikes are planned.

DETROIT (AP) — America’s auto industry is bracing for a potential escalation in President Trump’s tariff war with the world, one that could weaken the global auto industry and economy, inflate car prices and trigger a backlash in Congress. The Commerce Department has sent the White House a report on whether imported vehicles and parts pose a threat to U.S. national security. If Commerce did find that auto imports imperil national security, Trump would have 90 days to decide whether to impose those import taxes.

BALTIMORE (AP) — The city of Baltimore has filed a lawsuit against the agrochemical giant Monsanto and two other companies, accusing them of polluting local waterways and storm water. The legal effort focuses on pollution from PCBs, the industrial chemicals that have long accumulated in animals, plants and people around the globe. The city said its lawsuit is the first of its kind on the East Coast and the 15th nationally.